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Impact Report

July 2022 – June 2023

World Jewish Relief provides life-saving and life-changing action to people in crisis around the world. Founded 90 years ago to support jews in Nazi-occupied Europe, we have assisted Jewish communities across the world, and today support people in 23 countries within and beyond the community. Inspired by our Jewish values, we work with our trusted local partners to help people survive the consequences of conflict and disaster, to thrive and rebuild their lives. In the last five years, we have supported 537,557 people.

All our programmes internationally and in the UK are delivered through partner organisations who have the specific expertise and critical local knowledge to enable us to best meet the needs of individuals and communities. This allows us to listen carefully and respond appropriately to the people we support. We also invest in local organisations to build their skills and capacity, ultimately making the projects we support sustainable over the longer-term.

Working alongside expert local partners, we focus on four areas:

  • Humanitarian Action: We assist people, communities and local partners prepare for and respond to international disasters and climate related crises. We are also providing emergency and recovery assistance in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We expect this area will remain a priority over the next five years.
  • Refugee resettlement in the UK: We help refugees rebuild their lives in the UK, providing bespoke support to women refugees who face particular barriers to integration.
  • Employment and Livelihood Assistance: We transform the earning potential of those suffering the impact of conflict, climate change and migration through employment and livelihood recovery assistance.
  • Life Changing Support for Vulnerable Jews: We provide lifesaving assistance and care to vulnerable and elderly Jews of the Survivor Generation, with a particular focus on those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Central to all our work is prioritising partnership, delivering and measuring impact, and the needs of women and girls because traditionally they have less access to land, education, income, political influence and opportunity – all of which keeps them in a cycle of poverty. We want to change that.

Ukraine Response

Our humanitarian interventions have evolved alongside our experienced partners and their impressive determination to implement high quality programmes in response to identified needs and gaps. We have taken a multi-pronged approach recognising that, depending on the location, the needs and appropriate intervention could be different. Our key areas of focus in 2022-23 included: humanitarian assistance such as emergency food and medicine, livelihood recovery, mental health support to children and families, home repairs, winter relief and support to older people.

Humanitarian Response

We assist people, communities and local partners to prepare for, and respond to, international disasters. The primary objectives of this area of our work are to:

  • Save lives.
  • Preserve dignity and agency.
  • Alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable affected by disasters.
  • Respond to both immediate emergency needs and help communities rebuild their lives.

To best achieve our overall objectives, we work with well-placed effective local partners who are embedded in the communities they serve and have a history of delivery. We prioritise the needs of women, girls and marginalised communities and disasters that are the result of climate hazards.
Over the last year, we have provided humanitarian support in: Turkey, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uganda, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Haiti, Nepal, Indonesia

SPOTLIGHT: TURKEY-SYRIA EARTHQUAKE

PARTNER: International Blue Crescent.
LOCATION: southern Turkey and northern Syria.
FUNDS RAISED: £750,000, 90% already spent or committed.
NUMBER SUPPORTED: 9,400 people to date.
SUPPORT PROVIDED: Emergency food, blankets, hygiene kits, mental health support.

On the same day the earthquakes struck, we launched an emergency appeal to raise funds to support those in desperate need. Thanks to our supporters, we were able to provide short-term support in some of the worst affected regions. As the crisis evolved, we could move to more medium-term assistance such as supplying 42 prefabricated homes.

Climate

Climate change and humanitarian crises are inextricably linked. Not only is climate change resulting in more frequent and intense ‘shocks’, such as heat waves, floods and droughts, but it is also driving long term environmental ‘stresses’ such as changes in agricultural calendars, land degradation and water scarcity. In turn this is increasing poverty, food insecurity, various health issues, and in some cases, influencing conflict and migration.

At World Jewish Relief we recognise our moral responsibility not only to respond to these shocks and stresses – but also to support vulnerable communities to become more resilient to the changing climate. In Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar – all highly at risk of climate-related change – our programmes supported 25,000 vulnerable people. Between January and June 2023, we scaled up our work in Nepal, scaled down our work in Myanmar due to a problematic operating environment, and launched a new project in Ethiopia to help communities be more prepared for disasters by establishing early warning systems.

Hear Bishnu’s inspiring story, from struggling to feed his family to growing climate-resilient crops and thriving.

Support to Older People

We provide life-saving assistance and care to vulnerable and older Jewish people of the Survivor Generation, in six countries across Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on those affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Despite the incredibly challenging circumstances that our Ukrainian partners, and the communities they live in, have faced during the past 12 months, they have continued to find new and innovative ways to maintain our critical support to this older client group.

This year we provided a vital lifeline to 47,524 people through our Homecare, Active Ageing and Home Repair programmes.

Outside Ukraine we reached 319 people in Belarus with social care, dementia and material support, 789 in Georgia through home repairs and medical, social and dementia care, and 2,443 people in Moldova with medical, social and dementia care (plus support to Ukrainian refugees). We also supported 57 older Jewish people in Bosnia with homecare, medicines and hot meals, and 222 older people in Krakow, Poland.

STORY SPOTLIGHT

Tamara, an 83-year-old Jewish woman in Ukraine, urged her family to evacuate the frontline city of Kherson when Russian forces began their invasion. With missiles whistling over her apartment, she was terrified and unable to leave the house to do many of the simple tasks she needed to do to survive, like buy medicine and feed herself.

Older person with homecare worker

She was also lonely and missing her life before the war, her friends, and her family. Thanks to World Jewish Relief’s Homecare Programme, delivered alongside our local partner, Tamara was provided a homecare worker who visits three times a week to help with cooking and collecting her medicine. But she doesn’t just offer this practical support. She provides reassurance and companionship. They share cups of tea together and enjoy the crosswords that Tamara loves so much.

“It became easier on my soul knowing I hadn’t been forgotten”  -Tamara

Livelihoods

We transform the earning potential of those suffering the impact of conflict, climate change and migration through employment and livelihood recovery assistance.

Our livelihood programmes empower disadvantaged individuals to build prosperous and fulfilling lives for themselves and their families. This work is inspired by Maimonides’ “Eight Levels of Tzedakah”. The Hebrew word tzedakah is the Jewish obligation to support our fellow human beings in their moment of need. Its highest form is to give people their independence by helping them to find a job or set up a business.

“Our livelihood programmes provide safe spaces to deeply traumatised people, helping them re-discover who they are, re-learn how to trust and how to dream, re-connect with others and take risks. We provide balance between extensive support and empowerment to ensure that our participants can stand on their two feet, and then even support others.”   – Ekaterina Mitiaev, Head of Impact & Livelihoods

Back to Work

Through programmes with local partners in Ukraine, Moldova, Rwanda and Uganda, we are helping people to enter sustainable employment through livelihood training, mental health support and financial literacy courses. In Ukraine the war has forced people to leave their jobs behind causing mass displacement and high unemployment rates. Despite all these challenges, World Jewish Relief, in partnership with seven local Ukrainian organisations, empowered 3,836 disadvantaged individuals to find sustainable employment and start rebuilding their lives based on self-reliance and dignity for themselves and more than 7,600 members of their families. In neighbouring Moldova, which remained the most vulnerable host country for Ukrainian refugees, 342 refugees and 250 Moldovans have been supported.

In Rwanda, we’re supporting young people into employment through vocational and agricultural training. By 30th June 2023 100% of graduates from our vocational track were either employed or self-employed, with 100% of previous graduates remaining in employment and almost 30% of these graduates reporting an increase in salary. On our agricultural track, 100% farmers are reaching a pre-determined income threshold. In Uganda, 85% increased their income by a factor of 6 and above to at least £115 per month.

SPOTLIGHT

Zakayo lives in Rwanda with his wife and two kids. After dropping out of school at a very young age to help his parents, he has been a subsistence farmer and struggled to provide for his family. In 2010, he tried to branch out to grow tomatoes to sell at the market, but due to a lack of agricultural knowledge, lost his whole season’s crop. Last year, Zakayo joined our programme in Rwanda, which supports farmers in their plans to break out of subsistence farming through life-changing agricultural training and mental health support. Over the last year, he has seen a 50% increase in his profits. Thanks to the programme he no longer needs to ask the headmaster of his children’s school for more time when paying school fees, food is reliably on the table, and he has been able to comfortably cover health insurance for the whole family.

Building Stronger Families

This programme supports disadvantaged families who face barriers which stop them providing their children with the stability and support they need. These families’ plight has been exacerbated since the Russian invasion and, in response to the pressures of the conflict, some parents have turned to negative coping mechanisms, such as alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Ukraine’s formal child protection system has been overwhelmed by the scope of the crisis. As part of the programme, in 2022-23 four partners engaged with 124 adults and 172 children in Ukraine and Moldova helping them learn coping mechanisms and be better parents, providing safer environments for their children.

Back to Childhood

While supporting people into employment has strengthened the resilience of Ukrainian parents and enabled them to meet basic needs, the well-being of their children also required attention. Our “Back to Childhood” programme emerged towards the end
of June 2022 in response to the enormous negative impact of the war on Ukrainian children. Some 5.7 million school-aged children have been affected since the start of the war. They continue to be killed, wounded, and deeply traumatised by the violence around them. “Back to Childhood” aims to improve the well-being of displaced and resident Ukrainian children.
In 2022-23, five partner organisations supported 2,260 younger children (6-13 year olds), focusing on their cognitive development and academic performance, psychological well-being, and social and emotional skills.

Supporting Refugees in the UK

World Jewish Relief was established to support Jewish refugees escaping Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 40s. 90 years later, and our support to refugees in the UK continues through our UK refugee employment programmes. We work in partnership with local organisations and authorities, as well as businesses, to reach local communities across the UK.

STEP

Over the last seven years and in response to the growing need and many challenges faced by refugees in the UK, we have built our award-winning Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP). STEP is a bespoke employment programme which helps refugees from all backgrounds to integrate, find work, rebuild their lives and provide for themselves once again. Through a dedicated employment advisor, our clients are supported through their journey into work with help writing CVs, preparing for interview, job applications, and navigating the UK job market.

Our aspiration for the programme is to reach a 30% job outcome and currently we are reaching a 42% job outcome rate, with 95% of those remaining in the job for at least 3 months. The jobs that refugees have secured are as varied as their skills, qualifications and
experience. Recent examples include a dental nurse and a chauffeur for the Mayor of Camden.

 

STEP Forward

A full evaluation of the STEP programme identified that although there was gender parity in participants starting STEP, women were dropping out more often, moving through the programme more slowly and getting a lower percentage of job outcomes. STEP Forward was created in response, to address the needs of women refugees and help them build confidence to make informed decisions about their life in the UK.

Since July 2022, 100% of women on STEP Forward have presented in front of class, and 30% of our graduates are now volunteering. This increase in confidence has been facilitated by the trusting and communal atmosphere built by staff, a women-only environment, and the range and relevance of course content provided, tailored to this client group. We will be scaling up STEP Forward over the next three years, into three locations, Leeds, Bradford and Coventry.

STEP Ukraine
Since October 2022, we have provided 310 Ukrainian refugees with bespoke, tailored, one-to-one employment support. The dedicated STEP Ukraine employment advisors support clients throughout their employment journey.

In July 2023, following a competitive bid process, the UK Government appointed World Jewish Relief to expand its STEP Ukraine programme to support up to 10,000 Ukrainians across the UK over the next 12 months, in partnership with the British Council.

“I had the opportunity to meet an incredible person who became my Employment Advisor on World Jewish Relief’s Specialist Training and Employment Programme (STEP). She helped me realise that I am not alone, and that I cannot lose my identity. The first step was to learn English, and we even created a plan to help me reach my goal of working one again as a lawyer, able to provide legal aid to society.”
– Nataliia, STEP Ukraine participant

Homes for Ukraine

World Jewish Relief is a UK Government-recognised provider for Homes for Ukraine. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our hosts, we have supported Ukrainians to find accommodation and complete the many tasks required to integrate into life in the UK including opening bank accounts and registering with doctors. Many of our Homes for Ukraine clients also receive employment support via STEP Ukraine.